While negotiations continue between the city and SEARHC over the potential buyout of Sitka Community Hospital, no matter the results, SEARHC is still expanding services in the community.
Earlier this fall, SEARHC acquired Sitka Physical Therapy. That acquisition plus Sitka Medical Center, and the former Totten Medical Center — now called Sitka Express Care Clinic –are three relatively new investments by SEARHC to provide expanded healthcare to a larger population.
SEARHC executive vice president Dan Neumeister said that even before the acquisition, SEARHC and Sitka Physical Therapy were offering similar services.
“However, Eric Speck and Alicia Haseltine had really developed a very nice program locally,” Neumeister said. “It just gave us an opportunity to align ourselves with one of the premier physical therapy programs here in the community of Sitka.”
Neumeister says that Sitka Physical Therapy approached SEARHC about the deal. The big draw that cemented the relationship was the chance to expand orthopedic services in Sitka.
“We have been growing our orthopedic program with Doctor David Brown,” said Neumeister. “It provides a much more comprehensive service program to our community, allows us to continue to grow and bring additional orthopedic services into our community.”
Sitka Physical Therapy had four therapists, and Neumeister says they were all kept on staff. He expects that the demand for physical therapy in Sitka will only increase.
“We are already quite full at capacity even with adding them into our program, so we’re already looking at hiring more physical therapists.”
Neumeister says acquisitions like this allow for more expanded services in Sitka and give the organization the chance to try different models. Sitka Express Care Clinic, for example, is on a sliding payment scale, meaning you aren’t turned away if you can’t pay — a new model for Sitka.
“It allows us to bring more specialists into the community. Complex surgeries. Those are special services that are fairly unique for small communities the size of Sitka and certainly other small communities throughout southeast.”
Sitka Physical Therapy was founded by Eric Speck in 1999 and co-owned with Alicia Haseltine. They affiliated with SEARHC in September.